Tag Archives: gardens

Recent publications: Something from nothing

Two stories on two rather different topics appeared in two divergent publications this week. One thing they have in common is that I wrote them. They both, I realized, also carry the theme of making something from thin air. See any other similarities?

Growing something out of nothing: The story of D.C.’s Wangari Gardens, on Grist.org, December 4

The Mad Lib legacy, on DeafEcho.com, December 6

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Cooking up summer abundance

Smooth, sun-kissed summer squash. Crispy cucumbers. Billowy leaves of rainbow Swiss chard. Sure, they sound lovely, but have you tried dealing with 10 or 20 pounds of them every week–in a household of one?

Figuring out what to do with all of this takes a huge bite out of my daily spark of creativity–creativity I would like to apply now and then to other pursuits, such as writing. And to my day job that, you know, is going to pay the bills come fall.

Here is the latest innovation I use to trudge through the tide of veggies (recipe and more ideas after the jump): Continue reading

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Image for the Day: Mother’s Day

Spending some quality time with Mother Earth. She’s still no competition for Ma, though.

Blair Road Community Garden, Blair and Oglethorpe NW, Washington, DC. Photo by Harry Chauss.

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Zen and the art of weed whacking


(Cross-posted from The Jew and the Carrot)

Caught in a rainstorm in Guatemala, with only chafing rain boots to tackle the wet, muddy miles ahead, Joe Gorin is about to give in to misery. Then he remembers a Buddhist practice: walking meditation. The scene begins to change as he uses this tool for enhanced awareness and thought to smooth the journey. This scene comes from Gorin’s memoir “Choose Love: A Jewish Buddhist Human Rights Activist in Central America,” and illustrates how well his spiritual practice entwined with his human rights work in 1980s Latin America. The author, who is a psychotherapist and I just call Joe, works the plot next to mine in a community garden in Northwest D.C. Joe gave me his book this spring, after I shared that I write. Continue reading

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Half-baked at the White House


The conveyor belt and metal detector were temporary, but the guard stood immovable. “You can either take it back to your car, or leave it with us,” he said. “And if you leave it with us, you don’t get it back.” He pointed to the sign that noted no insulated cups were allowed—even empty ones. So I turned in my potential weapon. Then I gripped my pink ticket for the White House Garden Tour and resisted the desire to tell the guy that no one in their right mind would try to park here.

I joined the crowd. I imagine us all imagining sun glancing off pink, purple, and yellow blooms, the diva perfume of lilac and the tender sweetness of daffodils.

But as I followed the masses down the path, I started to suspect mugs weren’t the only items banned from the grounds. Clouds layered themselves between me and the sun as I passed by a Rose Garden without roses and expanses of closed green buds. No perfume or sea of color here; just a half-baked project in a vacuum of chilly air.

As if to accentuate the theme, off to one side stood an area that looked like a patio trying to become a half basketball court. The green-tinted ground was fringed by rusting park benches and perhaps a bag or two of cement and paint to mark fresh foul lines. Continue reading

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